skip to main content


Title: Biomolecular condensate drives polymerization and bundling of the bacterial tubulin FtsZ to regulate cell division
Abstract

Cell division is spatiotemporally precisely regulated, but the underlying mechanisms are incompletely understood. In the social bacteriumMyxococcus xanthus, the PomX/PomY/PomZ proteins form a single megadalton-sized complex that directly positions and stimulates cytokinetic ring formation by the tubulin homolog FtsZ. Here, we study the structure and mechanism of this complex in vitro and in vivo. We demonstrate that PomY forms liquid-like biomolecular condensates by phase separation, while PomX self-assembles into filaments generating a single large cellular structure. The PomX structure enriches PomY, thereby guaranteeing the formation of precisely one PomY condensate per cell through surface-assisted condensation. In vitro, PomY condensates selectively enrich FtsZ and nucleate GTP-dependent FtsZ polymerization and bundle FtsZ filaments, suggesting a cell division site positioning mechanism in which the single PomY condensate enriches FtsZ to guide FtsZ-ring formation and division. This mechanism shares features with microtubule nucleation by biomolecular condensates in eukaryotes, supporting this mechanism’s ancient origin.

 
more » « less
Award ID(s):
1734030
NSF-PAR ID:
10426636
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Nature Publishing Group
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Nature Communications
Volume:
14
Issue:
1
ISSN:
2041-1723
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Bacterial cell division and peptidoglycan (PG) synthesis are orchestrated by the coordinated dynamic movement of essential protein complexes. Recent studies show that bidirectional treadmilling of FtsZ filaments/bundles is tightly coupled to and limiting for both septal PG synthesis and septum closure in some bacteria, but not in others. Here we report the dynamics of FtsZ movement leading to septal and equatorial ring formation in the ovoid-shaped pathogen,Streptococcus pneumoniae. Conventional and single-molecule total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy (TIRFm) showed that nascent rings of FtsZ and its anchoring and stabilizing proteins FtsA and EzrA move out from mature septal rings coincident with MapZ rings early in cell division. This mode of continuous nascent ring movement contrasts with a failsafe streaming mechanism of FtsZ/FtsA/EzrA observed in a ΔmapZmutant and anotherStreptococcusspecies. This analysis also provides several parameters of FtsZ treadmilling in nascent and mature rings, including treadmilling velocity in wild-type cells andftsZ(GTPase) mutants, lifetimes of FtsZ subunits in filaments and of entire FtsZ filaments/bundles, and the processivity length of treadmilling of FtsZ filament/bundles. In addition, we delineated the motion of the septal PBP2x transpeptidase and its FtsW glycosyl transferase-binding partner relative to FtsZ treadmilling inS. pneumoniaecells. Five lines of evidence support the conclusion that movement of the bPBP2x:FtsW complex in septa depends on PG synthesis and not on FtsZ treadmilling. Together, these results support a model in which FtsZ dynamics and associations organize and distribute septal PG synthesis, but do not control its rate inS. pneumoniae.

     
    more » « less
  2. Summary

    FtsZ is the key regulator of bacterial cell division. It initiates division by forming a dynamic ring‐like structure, the Z‐ring, at the mid‐cell. What triggers the formation of the Z‐ring during the cell cycle is poorly understood. InEscherichia coli, the common view is that FtsZ concentration is constant throughout its doubling time and therefore regulation of assembly is controlled by some yet‐to‐be‐identified protein‐protein interactions. Using a newly developed functional, fluorescent FtsZ reporter, we performed a quantitative analysis of the FtsZ concentration throughout the cell cycle under slow growth conditions. In contrast to the common expectation, we show that FtsZ concentrations vary in a cell cycle‐dependent manner, and that upregulation of FtsZ synthesis correlates with the formation of the Z‐ring. The first half of the cell cycle shows an approximately fourfold upregulation of FtsZ synthesis, followed by its rapid degradation by ClpXP protease in the last 10% of the cell cycle. The initiation of rapid degradation coincides with the dissociation of FtsZ from the septum. Altogether, our data suggest that the Z‐ring formation in slow growth conditions inE. coliis partially controlled by a regulatory sequence wherein upregulation of an essential cell cycle factor is followed by its degradation.

     
    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    The timing of cell division, and thus cell size in bacteria, is determined in part by the accumulation dynamics of the protein FtsZ, which forms the septal ring. FtsZ localization depends on membrane-associated Min proteins, which inhibit FtsZ binding to the cell pole membrane. Changes in the relative concentrations of Min proteins can disrupt FtsZ binding to the membrane, which in turn can delay cell division until a certain cell size is reached, in which the dynamics of Min proteins frees the cell membrane long enough to allow FtsZ ring formation. Here, we study the effect of Min proteins relative expression on the dynamics of FtsZ ring formation and cell size in individualEscherichia colibacteria. Upon inducing overexpression ofminE, cell size increases gradually to a new steady-state value. Concurrently, the time required to initiate FtsZ ring formation grows as the size approaches the new steady-state, at which point the ring formation initiates as early as before induction. These results highlight the contribution of Min proteins to cell size control, which may be partially responsible for the size fluctuations observed in bacterial populations, and may clarify how the size difference acquired during asymmetric cell division is offset.

     
    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    While cell division is a critical process in cellular proliferation, very few antibiotics have been identified that target the bacterial cell‐division machinery. Recent studies have shown that the small molecule PC190723 inhibits cell division in several Gram‐positive bacteria, with a hypothesized mechanism of action involving direct targeting of the tubulin homolog FtsZ, which is essential for division in virtually all bacterial species. Here, it is shown that PC190723 also inhibits cell division in the Gram‐negative bacteriumEscherichia coliif the outer membrane permeability barrier is compromised genetically or chemically. The results show that the equivalent FtsZ mutations conferring PC190723 resistance inStaphylococcus aureusdo not protectE. coliagainst PC190723, and that suppressors of PC190723 sensitivity inE. coli, which do not generically decrease outer membrane permeability, do not map to FtsZ or other division proteins. These suppressors display a wide range of morphological and growth phenotypes, and one exhibits a death phenotype in the stationary phase similar to that of a mutant with disrupted lipid homeostasis. Finally, a complementing FtsZ–msfGFP fusion is used to show that PC190723 does not affect the Z‐ring structure. Taken together, the findings suggest that PC190723 inhibits growth and division inE. coliwithout targeting FtsZ. This study highlights the importance of utilizing a combination of genetic, chemical, and single‐cell approaches to dissect the mechanisms of action of new antibiotics, which are not necessarily conserved across bacterial species.

     
    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    High-resolution imaging of biomolecular condensates in living cells is essential for correlating their properties to those observed through in vitro assays. However, such experiments are limited in bacteria due to resolution limitations. Here we present an experimental framework that probes the formation, reversibility, and dynamics of condensate-forming proteins inEscherichia colias a means to determine the nature of biomolecular condensates in bacteria. We demonstrate that condensates form after passing a threshold concentration, maintain a soluble fraction, dissolve upon shifts in temperature and concentration, and exhibit dynamics consistent with internal rearrangement and exchange between condensed and soluble fractions. We also discover that an established marker for insoluble protein aggregates, IbpA, has different colocalization patterns with bacterial condensates and aggregates, demonstrating its potential applicability as a reporter to differentiate the two in vivo. Overall, this framework provides a generalizable, accessible, and rigorous set of experiments to probe the nature of biomolecular condensates on the sub-micron scale in bacterial cells.

     
    more » « less